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Legal Predicament of Combining 'Regional' and 'National' Autonomy: A Group Rights Perspective

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The Chinese regional national autonomy (RNA) is stated as an institutional arrangement for safeguarding the specific rights of certain minority nationalities living concentrated in their inhabited areas. The combination of 'regional autonomy' and 'national autonomy', which is claimed to be the significant feature of this institution, has not yet been discussed in terms of the institutional design and legal techniques used. Taking a group rights perspective on the institutional arrangement of RNA, the paper explores the legal difficulties inherent in the combination of the two kinds of autonomy as suggested by the terms 'regional' 'national' 'autonomy'. This research exposes the conditions and limits of the existing legal mechanism under RNA and shows that the alleged right combination of two kinds of autonomy is difficult to logically expound from a group rights perspective. It discloses the problems of institutional design in addition to the faulty implementation of the Law on the Regional National Autonomy as the reason for the malfunction of RNA to achieve its stated purpose.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China; Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo, Norway


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